Varicose Veins

Bulging varicose veins in a leg at IVC Interventional and Vein Center

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are the result of vein disease, or Venous Insufficiency. Veins become dilated, twisting, and bulging, making it difficult to stand, walk, work, or enjoy your favorite activities. Symptoms include itching, heaviness, swelling, and aching in the legs or pelvis. Varicose veins can become a serious medical condition; left untreated, they may cause skin pigment changes, bleeding, skin ulcerations/sores, and blood clots.



How do you know if you have varicose veins?
Depending on the individual person, symptoms may vary—from intense soreness to no pain at all. Common signs include:
  • Leg pain or aching
  • Heaviness in legs
  • Itching around veins
  • Leg swelling
These symptoms are often made worse by long periods of sitting or standing. Left untreated, varicose veins can become a serious medical condition and may cause:
  • Blood clots
  • Skin pigment changes
  • Bleeding
  • Skin ulcerations


Causes and Risk Factors

Varicose veins affect up to 60% of the American population. Whether deep inside the body or easily seen on the skin’s surface, varicose veins occur when the delicate valves inside a vein stop working. Risk factors include:

  • Family History: Heredity is the number-one contributing factor to the formation of varicose veins. Up to 50% of people with a family history of vein disease will develop them.
  • Sex: Visible varicose veins are found nearly twice as often in women.
  • Pregnancy: Increased blood volume and hormones during pregnancy contribute to the weakening of veins and valves.
  • Age: Over years of use, the valves inside your veins gradually weaken and allow blood to reflux, or travel in the opposite direction.
  • Injury: Blood clots and vein injuries can make valves no longer function, leading to varicose veins.
  • Occupational: Sitting or standing for long periods of time can contribute to vein disease. In active legs, muscle contractions help to pump blood back to the heart. Sitting or standing puts more strain on veins—they have to work harder to do their job.


Testing for Vein Disease

To evaluate veins, we use ultrasound. This allows us to view the anatomy of your veins, measuring the direction and speed of your blood flow. With this personalized information, we can develop a treatment plan specifically for you and your individual needs. Learn more.


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